John Gholson

by: John Gholson
June 1st, 2011

You can’t judge a movie by its cover. Let’s say you’ve just watched Kenneth Branagh’s live-action THOR movie, and suddenly you find yourself interested in a character you didn’t have any significant interest in beforehand. You spot the animated feature THOR: TALES OF ASGARD, its cover sporting an Alex Ross painting of a muscular Thor, raising a sword to the heavens while lightning ripples around him. “THOR surprised me,” you think to yourself, “so this should be cool.”

Instead, you get a weak sub-TV quality animation, where Thor is a young teen, anime-styled - simplistically designed and waif-thin. The story is a re-tread of the events in the live-action film, in which Thor travels to Jotunheim against Odin’s wishes, sparking a conflict with the Frost Giants. Instead of a cool new Thor adventure, you’re watching a cash-in. Does the cash-in work for kids, though? Probably, as a diversion, but even kids can tell when this stuff feels cheap.  THOR: TALES OF ASGARD isn’t irredeemably awful, but it is noticeably cheap.

I’m not sure why a DTV THOR animated feature would be loaded with special features either, but here it is. You get two audio commentaries (one from the producer and screenwriter and one from the director and character designer), a making-of documentary, and a bonus episode of The Avengers animated TV series. My guess is that kids will get more enjoyment out of that 30-minutes Avengers episode than the 77-minute THOR: TALES OF ASGARD movie. It’s much more indicative of the kind of action that Marvel Comics is known for.

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